A/N: A quick little drabble because I spent way too much time listening to Van Morrison today. You can also blame Fran and this post and episode 2x01.
Spoilers for 2x01
The full moon is high in the mid-September sky and it's perhaps Mackenzie's favourite time of year in New York City. The air is cool enough that you can feel the slide into winter but still not so cold that you can't sit outside at night; the city is alive with lights and sounds and colours – when she closes her eyes she can hear car horns and people shouting and the steady thump thump of music from a club a few blocks down the road.
The crisp air is tinged with the faintest hint of steam and smoke and she has a half glass of merlot dangling from her fingers that she sips at. It's left a warm, spacey feeling at the back of her head and her limbs are heavy and every time she closes her eyes it's a battle to reopen them. She's cushioned sideways in one of the large wicker chairs on the balcony and she thinks she'd be content to stay there all night, breathing in the city and listening to Will potter around in the apartment behind her.
He's fussing with a pan of soup and she can hear his half hearted mutters as he cleans it – every now and then his fingers slip and are caught underneath the heavy pot in the soapy water and he gasps a shocked, "fuck"; like the dish has personally offended him. He'd sounded the exact same in the taxi on the way home whilst talking about the guest they'd had on the show that night, but she likes the gravelly tone of his voice when he swears – she's used to it by now, after ten months with him.
"Are you okay?" she calls back, when the expletive is followed by a groan and the noise of feet on the tiles. She's gazing up across the tips of the city skyline where the buildings are illuminated in whites and blues and yellows; where the night sky sucks them up into its murky black depths so its hard to tell where the buildings end and the sky begins and only the full moon, hanging heavy down by the Empire State Building, shines sharply.
The glass door squeaks softly as Will slides it open and she barely turns her head as he grunts out, "I'm fine. The damn thing fell on my thumb and it's heavier than it looks."
"Want me to suck it better?" she offers and it's half hearted but not at all innocent.
Will doesn't make a sound but a moment later his hand lands heavy on her shoulder and she tips her head back to smile at him.
"Only if you come to bed," he rumbles, and starts kneading his fingers into the knot where her shoulder meets her collarbone. His hands smell faintly of soap but it's the nice, clean type she slipped onto the shopping list so she pulls his hand close to her face and nuzzles it affectionately. She nips at his thumb and whilst he sends her a strange look he doesn't pull away – instead he leans forward so his body is braced against the back of the chair and lets her play with his fingers.
She doesn't want to leave the balcony. The night is wonderful and they won't have many more like this when winter starts. She wants to treasure the crisp feeling in the air and the soft sounds of cars on the street far below them and Will's breath stirring the wisps of hair at her neck. The music playing nearby has changed and she hadn't even noticed that her foot is tapping along with it, suspended in the air with her legs dangling over the side. Will's free hand reaches around to land on her foot and wraps around her bare ankle possessively.
"Join me?" she questions, voice sweet and seductive and she knows he can't resist her when she's relaxed and smiling sleepily. He tries, but then she drops her head a little and lowers her eyes and lets her smile soften and he always, always gives in to her.
He's silent a few seconds but then he squeezes her ankle and the corner of his lips smile and he mumbles, "wait here," before disappearing inside.
When he returns he's changed out of his blue button down and into a t-shirt – the soft, cotton grey one he wears to bed and he has socks on his feet underneath his khaki pants. He looks like he belongs on a sunday afternoon – like he should be lying in bed with a book and an apple and refusing to move for hours; she wants to snuggle in to the spot underneath his chin and hook her arms around his stomach and sleep on him.
He taps her shoulder and nods his head to indicate that she move and it takes her a second to realise that he's left the sliding glass door open. As she stands, the soft sounds of Into The Mystic float past and wrap around her and then Will's pulling her back down and into his lap, swinging her legs over his thighs and tucking her head under his chin. The movement's so quick and fluid that she ends up completely lax in his arms. "Comfortable?" he questions, and she nuzzles her head from side to side into his collarbone.
"Gonna fall asleep," she warns him, and when he chuckles she hears it deep and rumbling in his chest.
Will snakes an arm around her side until it's lying against her hip and his fingers are running along the hem of her shirt, skirting the tiny slip of skin exposed there.
"And what are you doing up this late, Miss Mackenzie?"
His voice is lower, all rough and smoky like it is after he's had a cigarette. She shouldn't find it as sexy as she does but then again, she finds everything about this man gorgeous. His lips and his hands and his waist and his voice – god, sometimes she wishes they could swap rolls for an evening and find out what it's like to have his voice murmuring in her ear; she swears it must be heaven.
She's too relaxed to laugh but she rolls her head to the side to glance up at him and smiles indulgently, "I'm enjoying the nightshift, Mr McAvoy, and you?"
"We're keeping the lonely hearted company," he tells her, dipping his voice like a radio broadcaster – well, his imitation of one, anyway. His hand has slipped underneath the hem of her pants and is resting low on her hip and he keeps lowering his head so he murmurs in her ear, sending shivers up her spine and down to her fingers.
"We?" she questions, and if her voice is soft and shaky, he doesn't mention it.
He simply answers, "Freddy and myself."
And she laughs before dipping her nose into the curve of his neck. "Yeah?" she breathes, and it's his turn to shiver. She scratches her fingers into the soft material of his t-shirt and presses her thumbs into the hard yet soft planes of his chest. She doesn't think she'll ever grow tired of touching him – of wanting him. He's warm and safe and ridiculous as he mumbles about Freddy and the nightbird and the graveyard shift, "Any callers tonight, Freddy?" and then his voice lights up when he responds to himself, "Just one, Mackenzie from midtown," and he's teasing when he adds, "and what do you want tonight Ms McHale?"
It's passed midnight now and the city is still alive but the air is cooler. Will might be a furnace but Mackenzie's toes are freezing and her eyes are droopy and she wants to tell him that all she wants is him, forever, but preferably in bed and above her right now.
"Mackenzie? You still there caller?" he whispers in her ear, and she hums long and content into his neck.
"Sleepy," she murmurs instead, voice slurred with exhaustion.
"How 'bout a song, lovely?" he asks, holding her closer, "This one's dedicated to you."
And as the tracks shift from Tupelo Honey into Sweet Thing she thinks how the hell does he plan this, the smooth bastard – little moments that make her believe in love.
She's half asleep as the song plays and Will keeps whispering tiny bits of it in her ear and just as she's drifting off, he says, "Tune in tomorrow, caller?"
And so she huffs and smiles, "Always."
Oh sweet thing, sweet thing
My, my, my, my, my, sweet thing
And I will raise my hand up
Into the night time sky
And count the stars
That's shining in your eye
It's late and the air is freezing but Will has half a joint lit in his hand and the smoke's curled its way down into his lungs and through his chest and into his head so that he's spinning. It's nice to be able to think and not see Mackenzie or Bryan or the tears on her cheeks moments before he'd yelled at her until she'd ran out the door – nice to feel something light and floating in his chest, not endlessly heavy. But there's no moon in the sky tonight and Will hates that the stars aren't out in New York City.
Comfortably Numb is playing on repeat through the open glass doors so he lifts the joint to his lips and breathes in sharp.
Is there anybody in here?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?
"Cats and kittens grab your mittens, you're listening to Will McAvoy and Van Morrison taking you through the night, into the mystic."
It's not unusual any more to talk to Will when the moon is high and the rest of society is sleeping. She thinks perhaps they're more reasonable past midnight, like neither of them have the will to fight when they're both sleepy and murmuring in each other's ear. Some of their best conversations have taken place in the dead hours of the morning and she cherishes the little moments when Will is silly, or warm and familiar over the phone with her – she almost expects his quips and borderline-flirty comments and so she doesn't bat an eyelash when he answers with his voice all low.
She's too incensed to care, anyway, because she knew something was wrong with the bastard at the fantasy football draft (and hadn't that been an exciting waste of her time, damn Sloan and her pleading eyes) but at least now she knows the reason.
"Why didn't you tell me?" she asks, and there's a pause before Will continues, ignoring her question completely.
"Let's take some calls, who do we have on the line Freddy? It's Mackenzie from midtown, you're talking to the nightbird," and she feels something tighten in her stomach, damn him.
The have little rules and boundaries that they've built over the past year.
Some things aren't allowed to be mentioned – like the necklace Mackenzie wore everyday whilst embedded yet hardly allowed herself to until a few months ago. It's resting around her neck at the moment and for a second she remembers the steady heat of his gaze when he'd noticed her wearing it again the first time. It's been there every day she's worn it since and she's thinking of getting rid of the longer, dangly ones and returning to this one permanently.
Another is their life before – all the intimate moments and the routines and memories; arguing over dinner and sitting too close to each other in bars and Mackenzie in his lap on the wicker chairs on the balcony whilst Freddy and Will dedicated songs to her and rambled on about their imaginary radio show.
"Why didn't you tell me you were taken off the 9/11 anniversary?" she questions him, and hopes her ignorance deters him and Freddy. She studiously avoids thinking about how he sounds when he murmurs her name, but Will only baits her further.
"What are you doing up this late Mackenzie from midtown?"
"Charlie just called me to ask how you were handling it, and I said handling what?" and she really is pissed at him. They've reached a point where things are better now. Ever since Will's stint in hospital weeks ago, when they fight (and they'll always fight) her first response isn't to run away and Will's isn't to hurt her. Instead they argue about the actual point of contention and their relationship feels stronger for it, like they've built something new and important – a partnership.
She'd thought by now he would at least come to her about this, but he merely mutters, "It was the right thing to do, caller," and she can't help but sit forward and bite out, "Bullshit," because it is.
"Freddy you better grab that 7 second delay," and Mackenzie swears if he mentions Freddy one more time she's going to kill him at work tomorrow. Or perhaps send him on the Romney bus instead of Jim.
"Knock it off," she mutters, closing her eyes briefly.
She wonders if he's out on the balcony. She can hear music through phone and she knows Will must be upset about this, no matter what he says. For a brief second she wishes she could be there with him – not that he'd let her. But it's nice to imagine a world where she's still welcome in his arms.
He'd mentioned Into the Mystic earlier and she feels a little jealous, actually. She'd thought Van Morrison was their thing – wonders if Will's sitting on the balcony listening to the music and thinking of her.
"Let's not make it a big deal," he tells her, and he still sounds deep and spacey. She doesn't want to think about how much he's drunk – or smoked, or whatever – to sound like that. She's not his mother, nor his doctor, nor his partner. She doesn't have any ownership of him.
It doesn't mean she doesn't feel it, however.
"You're okay with this?" she questions, and he answers quickly.
"I am, can I go back to sleep?"
And that surprises her because never once had she thought he was actually in bed, no matter how late the hour. And the thought of Will sleepy and under the covers leaves something hot and terrible in her heart.
"You're in bed?" she murmurs, her voice softer.
"It's the middle of the night," he reminds her, and she wants to argue that they've had conversations at four in the morning where she knows Will was still huddled in his office, or on the couch. This isn't unusual.
"Why is there music playing?" she questions, pushing him.
"Same reason your night light's on," he responds and she wonders if other people can exist knowing this much about someone. It's unnatural, knowing the intimacies of a person you see everyday and not having them to go home to at night; it leaves an ache that can never be settled.
His voice is almost normal again when he echoes her muttered, "alright," but the dismissal is evident and he hangs up moments later. She'll worry about him in the morning depending on how he looks in the rundown meeting, but for now he falls asleep to the tune of Into the Mystic, and wonders if they'll ever be in a time and place to listen to Van Morrison again, together.
She hopes so.
And when that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home
And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic
Come on girl...